As we know, the UK is currently amid an economic crisis. Inflation rates today now exceed the average increases to employees' benefits and wages. The current rate of inflation within the UK stands at 9.1%, whereas the average rise in wages sits at only 4%. The significant imbalance between the two has resulted in a dramatic fall in living standards for UK residents. With 91% of households experiencing increases in their cost of living, there's a dire need for support throughout the UK.
What are the government doing to help?
Over the past months, the government have been rolling out different support packages for households to combat the cost-of-living crisis. As part of the government's scheme, each household in England, Wales and Scotland will receive £400 over six payments to contribute to rising energy prices. Alongside energy bill discounts are several increased benefit payments, and tax breaks for self-employed workers. Furthermore, the government also introduced Fuel duty cuts and rises in NI contribution thresholds to provide extra support.
Despite this, millions will continue to struggle over the coming months.
It is now the time for businesses to get involved and support their employees in whatever way they can.
What does the cost-of-living crisis mean for businesses?
Similar to the pandemic, businesses will need to adapt to the current crisis. Employers must be aware that their employees may be carrying extra stress on top of their work. In fact, recent reports show that more than three-quarters of the UK are worried about the current cost-of-living crisis. Employees throughout the UK are likely facing anxiety over money which can dramatically affect their performance at work.
Consequently, employers are now dealing with the task of helping their employees amidst the rising costs of everyday essentials. In response, businesses are supporting staff in many different ways. Most are adopting a new cost-of-living scheme to support and provide relief for their employees.
How are businesses supporting employees?
Across the UK, it has been identified that anxiety surrounding money issues affects one in four employees. Worrying about money will ultimately affect employees' ability to continue working efficiently.
To combat this, many UK businesses have started supporting their employees by offering different incentives or benefits to ease the cost of living. Currently, some businesses are offering one-off bonuses, or pay rises to support their employees. Tesco, for example, is offering a pay rise of 9.5% to their distribution employees. Additionally, Virgin Money opted to provide bonuses of £1000 to employees.
However, whilst some businesses offer bonuses and increasing pay, other large brands have faced backlash after providing insufficient benefits or inadequate pay to keep up with the rising inflation.
There isn't a harmonised approach when it comes to supporting employees. Each person is different and requires various levels of support, and the same goes for businesses. Not all businesses can afford to subsidise employees with large influxes of cash or pay rises. This begs the question…
How to support your employees during the Cost of Living Crisis
Ensure fair wages
Ensuring a fair wage is provided has been an issue for many employees even before the cost-of-living crisis. But now, the inflated prices of petrol, gas, electricity and food are getting increasingly more challenging to deal with; the demand for a fair wage is more prevalent.
A fair wage, however, doesn't necessarily mean a pay rise; it could be a small bonus for employees who have earnt it and deserve a financial boost.
Offer a safe environment to talk
Money is a sensitive issue at the best of times, and now more than ever, people are unwilling to share details regarding their financial situation. Offering a safe environment for employees to share their troubles involving money or, indeed, any other aspect of their life can be a tremendous benefit for your business.
Financial and wellness support
During a time of unpredictability, money can be the root cause of stress and anxiety for many of your employees. Offering a financial support service can be an effective way for employees to increase their financial literacy and confidence. This initiative can be achieved at a minimal cost and accomplished discreetly. Financial support can encourage all struggling employees to understand how to save without having to speak to someone.
Wellness programs are also a practical employee benefit when it comes to dealing with employees' mental health. Offering a program that can provide workout ideas or money-saving tips can relieve stress and encourage positive mental health.
Employee Discounts can be just as effective as increasing employee wages and generally come at a lower cost. Discount schemes can range from providing savings on weekly shops or offering discounts on travel and family days out. Discount schemes are excellent benefits as they provide employees with significant savings with minimal cost to the business.
Help for Employees: Cost of living scheme
Help for Employees is a government-backed initiative offering employees unique benefits and savings. The discount initiative aims to support employees by providing discounts on various products and services. Help for Employees offers hundreds of exclusive discounts across multiple big brands, including Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, ASOS, Vision Express, BT, EE and Halfords and much more.
In addition, Help for Employees offers discounts on days out, various restaurants and travel. This cost-effective solution costs businesses £5 per employee and can help employees generate savings of up to £3000 once signed up.
Help for Employees also provides access to a wellness centre where your employees will find a mixture of online content, online discounts and digital gift cards. It includes free online workout videos, online saving/budgeting calculators, healthy recipes, mindfulness activities and advice/tasks for what employees can do to look after their wellbeing.
Help for Employees can be an essential employee benefit during a time when necessary purchases are getting harder to pay for.
Ready to Get Started?
If you're looking to support your employees or provide an extra boost during these difficult times, then enquire now and see how you can provide your employees with over £3000 worth of discounts.